He's not always this blurry.
Chester is a good friend of mine. He’s lived in South Boston for all of his 84 years. He is a WWII veteran. He enjoys bacon and eggs, a good Western movie, baseball, listening to the radio, and talking about how expensive everything is. He dislikes modern music, doctors, throwing things away, and how expensive everything is. He has diabetes and is legally blind. I’ve visited him often for about three years, sometimes to help out around the house, but mostly just to chat.
I met Chester through a great organization called FriendshipWorks, a Boston-based nonprofit that matches volunteers with elders and adults with disabilities. On the surface, Chester and I don’t seem to have a lot in common. But get us talking and the conversation usually turns to food.
Tonight I brought Chester dinner. He’ll eat pretty much anything, although he tends to favor pastries, candy, white bread, processed foods, and red meat. As you might imagine, none of these pair well with diabetes, so I jump at the chance to make and share a healthy meal with him. Tonight’s dinner was brought to us by the brilliant mind of Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows. It was her Naughty and Nice Enchilada Casserole, baby, and man was it good.
This is a bad photo of a good casserole.
Click the links above to check out Angela’s site and get the full recipe. Some slight alterations: I used store-bought taco seasoning mix and enchilada sauce. THE SHAME. For the pasta, I used Eden Organic Flax Rice Spirals. I topped the casserole with crushed tortilla chips (Laurel Hill Multigrain) and fresh avocado.
For what it’s worth, this recipe has received the coveted Chester Seal of Approval. He didn’t even notice there was no meat in it.
Lots of veggie goodness.
Any ideas of what to make for Chester next?
Tuesday was National Peanut Butter Day, but it was also National Meeting Day at work and National Girl’s Night and Wine Drinking Day at my friend’s apartment, so somehow I missed it. I MISSED NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY. Man, I love peanut butter! It’s so great, it’s one of the best foods to ever exist (unless you’re allergic, in which case, I’m so sorry – you are missing out).
What are some things I love about peanut butter, you ask? Well, allow me to answer:
- You can eat it with a spoon straight out of the jar and it’s awesome.
- So many choices! You can choose smooth, chunky, salted, unsalted (weirdo), all-natural (choose this one), all-unnatural, etc.
- You can dip so many things in it. Apples, crackers, chocolate bars.
- It’s not low-calorie, but it’s satisfying and nutritious (if you’re buying the right kind).
- It reminds you of being a kid.
I’m pretty bummed I missed it, but technically I celebrated without even knowing it by eating peanut butter toast with raisins for breakfast. Really, you can celebrate National Peanut Butter Day every day of the week if you’re lucky.
I’ll leave you with this video of people talking with peanut butter in their mouths. You’re welcome.
Dang, Etta James died yesterday. She was one of my favorite singers – so soulful and passionate. She went through a lot in her life, and when she channeled that pain into her music it was magic.
Anyways, this is a food blog, but it’s my only blog and I wanted to post something to honor Ms. James. With that, I present to you Shortnin’ Bread Rock. I mean, it is a song about bread. At least I’m pretty sure.
Scrambled eggs. Bananas in milk. Cinnamon sugar toast. The Holy Trinity of my father’s culinary capabilities, the only “dishes” he was really able to make with complete confidence. Their beauty was in their simplicity. When I think of the comforts of my childhood I often think of these foods.
The power of food to define a place, a person, a time, a memory – it’s incredible. Have you ever tasted something that seemed to transport you to somewhere in your past? Smelled something cooking and thought of the person who used to cook that for you? Seen a favorite food from childhood and remembered what things were like when you were a kid? I have. Food engages so many of the senses; it’s no wonder that cooking and eating can be highly emotional endeavors.
Tonight I made some cinnamon sugar toast in a small effort to remember my dad. He died two years ago today after a lengthy illness. I think of lots of things when I think of him. I think of his laugh, his catchphrases, his voice, his quirks, his handwriting, his talents, his love for me and my brother. And I think about the food he made us – so simple and yet so full of love.
My dad approached death with courage, humor and grace and I try to approach my life like that. I miss him all the time, but he left me with many lessons and memories. And so without further ado, I present to you the Three Secrets to Perfect Cinnamon Sugar Toast.
1: The Bread
Make sure it’s something hearty and tasty! I used a big old hunk of sunflower whole wheat bread. Toast until brown and crispy. You know how to make toast.
2: The Butter
Spread a generous amount of real butter on it while it’s still warm! If I see you using margarine I’m coming after you.
3: The Cinnamon and the Sugar and the Eating Part
Sprinkle lots of sugar. Sprinkle as little or as much cinnamon as you want. Spread it all out with a knife. Enjoy.
In a bold, original move I have decided to take up blogging again in the New Year. I know that you’ve been anxiously anticipating a new blog post from me, so I apologize – I don’t know how you’ve survived these past two months!
I’ll have a few new posts up this week. In the meantime, take a look at the photo below of my existential crisis in the cheese aisle of Whole Foods. What’s a girl to do? Is it an “Extra” or “Seriously” kind of night?
2011's Greatest Decision
In case you were curious, I went with Extra. I didn’t think I was quite ready for Seriously.
“Leave the gun. Take the cannolis.” – The Godfather
URGENT NEWS: Today is National Dessert Day. How this escaped my attention until 4pm on Friday is unknown, but I know now and this is a cause for celebration. I can’t believe we didn’t all have work off, how can they expect us to concentrate with visions of brownie sundaes dancing in our heads?
How will I celebrate, you ask? Well obviously I’ll celebrate it by seeking out some sort of delicious dessert. If there was ever a day to indulge a bit, it would be today. I’m thinking a trip to Max Brenner or Emack & Bolio’s may be in order this evening.
I don’t know about you, but I will extend my celebration of this proud American holiday throughout the weekend. I have a scheme in mind for some homemade apple crisp and vegan pumpkin cookies. I’ll let you know how they turn out.
My apple crisp will not be as pretty as this one from Simply Recipes. But it will taste phenomenal.
Happy National Dessert Day! How are you celebrating? Any favorite desserts?
Be a patriot, eat dessert. Otherwise the terrorists win.